NRL semi-final, Warriors Vs Knights live: Warriors ‘carve up’ defies belief

NRL semi-final, Warriors Vs Knights live: Warriors ‘carve up’ defies belief
  • PublishedSeptember 16, 2023

Welcome to news.com.au’s live coverage of the NRL semi-final between the New Zealand Warriors and Newcastle Knights from Go Media Stadium in Auckland.

It’s the first time in 15 years the Warriors will have a home NRL semi-final when they host the Knights for a place in the preliminary final.

Both sides have been surprise packets in 2023 with the Warriors finishing in the top four for the first time since 2007.

But the Knights have had an equally impressive season, going from the verge of sacking coach Adam O’Brien to going on a 10-game winning streak for a chance to make the club’s first prelim since 2013.

4.37pm — Knights hit back

The Knights are on the board.

After a bit of field position and possession, the Knights have gone over, putting the ball through the hands to score through Greg Marzhew, silencing the parochial crowd.

While it’s taken 25 minutes, there is a lot of time left.

It’s 16-4 after 27 minutes.

4.21pm — Warriors ‘carve up’ is pure insanity

Shaun Johnson in, the Warriors are a different team.

The Warriors have scored three tries in 12 minutes with Marcelo Montoya scoring in the corner.

It’s now 16-0 and the

Nine’s Mat Thompson said: “This is a carve up.”

Billy Slater added: “I’m nearly sick of giving Shaun Johnson a wrap here, but he is just creating all the space for this Warriors team and these outside backs. Some of the ball playing is first class from Shaun Johnson. He goes deep into the line, creates the space.”

On Fox League, Michael Ennis said the Knight “haven’t recovered mentally” from the knock on which led to the first try of the night.

“They’re showing minimal resilience in their tackles, play-the-ball speed is two quick and Johnson and Egan are killing them,” he said.

Warren Smith said the fans could “scarcely believe things at Mount Smart”.

4.15pm — Warriors denied, score immediately

The Warriors have scored two tries in the opening 7 minutes with Addin Fonua Blake slicing though.

After Wayde Egan was only just held up by some desperate Knights defence, Fonua-Blake scored almost immediately, breaking a tackle and scoring under the black dot.

“It’s a dream start in the Warriors’ first final since 2008,” Mat Thompson said on Channel 9.

And Go Media Stadium is absolutely rocking.

3.55pm — Knights coach’s ruthless truth

Shaun Johnson may be in, but it won’t be easy for him.

Knights coach Adam O’Brien has already said Johnson will have a target on his head — or more accurately, his calf.

Asked if Johnson would be targetted, there was no equivocation in O’Brien.

“Yeah, absolutey [he will be targeted],” O’Brien said on Nine’s pre-game coverage.

“Let’s be honest; if he’s going to be carrying something into the game we want to try to expose it nice and early.”

All’s fair in love and war I guess.

3.15pm — Shaun Johnson is in

Rest easy Warriors fans — Shaun Johnson is in.

The Warriors’ Dally M favourite has been under an injury cloud all week after he missed last week’s qualifying final against the Panthers with a calf injury.

How long it takes to come back from a calf injury is the same as the answer of how long is a piece of string but the Warriors half has made it through the captain’s run and will play in the semi-final.

The Warriors are 1-17 on the program with Te Maire Martin moving from halfback last week to five-eighth, while Dylan Walker will come off the bench in a utility role while Freddy Lussick drops off the bench.

Johnson reportedly had the say over whether he’d play or not and it seems he’s happy while coach Andrew Webster said his star playmaker will give it his all, even if he’s not at 100 per cent fitness.

“Well I hope so. Only Shaun can control that,” Webster said on Fox League.

“Look, whatever Shaun brings tonight, I know it’ll always be his best in the sense he’ll try his hardest and if he does that, that’ll be enough for us tonight.

“He’s had a great year, he’s been the best player in the competition and don’t worry, we’re happy to have him out there.”

So that’s great news for the Warriors.

For the Knights, there is one change with Daniel Saifiti ruled out with a hamstring injury, while Jackson Hastings will be a big out for Newcastle and will be replaced by Adam Clune.

WARRIORS: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 3. Rocco Berry 4. Adam Pompey 5. Marcelo Montoya 6. Te Maire Martin 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Wayde Egan 10. Mitchell Barnett 11. Jackson Ford 12. Marata Niukore 13. Tohu Harris

Interchange: 14. Dylan Walker 15. Jazz Tevaga 16. Bayley Sironen 17. Josh Curran

18th man: 20. Taine Tuaupiki

KNIGHTS: 1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Dominic Young 3. Dane Gagai 4. Bradman Best 5. Greg Marzhew 6. Tyson Gamble 7. Adam Clune 8. Jacob Saifiti 9. Phoenix Crossland 10. Leo Thompson 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Dylan Lucas 13. Adam Elliott

Interchange: 14. Kurt Mann 16. Jack Hetherington 17. Mathew Croker 18. Brodie Jones

18th man: 20. Fa’amanu Brown

SOURCE: NEWS.COM

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